Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:24
Syrian Gen: Damascus to Respond to US-Led Strikes by Attacking Aggressors' Bases in Syria
TEHRAN (FNA)- A prominent Syrian military expert warned that Damascus will respond to the Saturday morning US-led missile strikes with attacks against the illegal bases set up by the same aggressive states in Syria.

"The response to the tripartite strikes against Syria will be given by attacks against the aggressors' bases in Syria, using ground-to-ground missiles and with the help of popular resistance," General Mohammed Issa was quoted by the Arabic service of Russia's Sputnik news agency as saying on Saturday.

He added that the Syrian army will again deploy missile defense systems in all points in Syria, turning the country into a land completely covered by anti-air defense shields.

General Issa also voiced pleasure that most of the missiles fired during the Saturday US-led missile strikes were intercepted by the Syrian army.

US, British and French forces launched over 100 missiles on Syria early Saturday morning, and Russia says Damascus has managed to dodge 71.

In a televised address to the nation, US President Donald Trump said the three nations partnered in the missile launch.

The strikes were the biggest overt attack by the three Western powers against Syria in the country's seven-year-old civil war, which has pitted the US and its allies against Russia.

Other NATO members refrained from partnership in the attack, although NATO secretary general voiced his support for the move.

Israel was also absent from today's strike, fearing Iran's response. After a recent missile strike on Syria's T4 base that killed 12, including 7 Iranian military advisors, Tel Aviv has been on guard in anticipation of Iran's tough reprisal.

Reports coming out of a national security meeting in the White House two days ago said Defense Secretary James Mattis opposed striking targets that would provoke Tehran and Moscow's response, urging Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton to think wisely and narrow down the scope of the attack.

The Pentagon claimed the strikes targeted a research center in greater Damascus and a chemical weapons storage facility and a command post west of Homs, while the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has officially stated complete disarmament of Syria since two years ago.

The missile strikes took place as a team of OPCW is in Damascus to probe the alleged chemical incident in Douma last week, but the trio western allies didn't wait for the result of their work for somehow unknown reasons.

The Iranian foreign ministry in a statement on Saturday morning strongly condemned the attack, warning that the aggression would entail dire repercussions in the region and beyond.

Deputy Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Yadollah Javani also warned the US to "wait for the repercussions of its attack on Syria", saying that the Saturday offensive "gave the Resistance Front a more open hand for showing reaction to such moves by the US and its allies".

Russia's Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said in a statement that Russia had warned that "such actions will not be left without consequences".

Syrian state TV said Syrian air defenses shot down 15 missiles on Saturday morning. Syria's state run news agency said the missiles fired at Homs were intercepted or deviated from the targets and wounded three.

But the Russian Defense Ministry declared in a statement later on Saturday that the Syrian air defense units have intercepted 71 of the 103 missiles fired at the country.

Several explosions were heard in the Eastern and Southern parts of the capital of Damascus. Al-Alam Arabic TV displayed scenes of public gathering in support of the government in the streets of Warzah in Damascus near an attack site.

Footage coming from Syria shows that people are waving flags of Syria, Iran and Russia in the streets of Damascus, in a show of appreciation.

Witness accounts said nearly 20 Cruise missiles flew towards targets around the capital, but nearly half of them were intercepted.

The Syrian state-run news agency also said that "many missiles missed their targets or were intercepted thanks to the Syrian air defense".

A senior commander of the coalition supporting Syria in the war on terrorism said Damascus had already evacuated the targeted sites after it had been alarmed by the Russian intelligence services few days ago.

The Russian defense ministry said none of its bases and sites in Syria have been targeted. But the Arabic service of Russia's state news agency Russia Today said the attack by the trio western states "sparked a major war that will herald World War III".

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that most missiles launched by the Western states on Syria had been downed by the Arab Republic's air defenses, when approaching targets.

"The Syrian air defense system has been conducting an anti-air fight," the Ministry added.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Syria repelled the Western attack by air defense complexes made in the USSR over 30 years ago.

"Syrian means of air defense: S-125, S-200 air defense systems, Buk and Kvadrat were used in the repelling the missile strike," it noted.

Russia's air defenses haven't been used to repel the missile strike on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, the Military underlined.

"None of cruise missiles launched by the US and its allies entered the zone of responsibility of the Russian air defenses, covering objects in Tartus [naval facility] and Hmeymim [airbase located in the Lattakia province]," the Russian Defense Ministry explained.

According to the Russian military, the massive missile strike on objects of military and civilian infrastructure was conducted by US warships jointly with the UK and French air forces.

Hezbollah of Lebanon also issued a statement minutes ago, vowing to stay beside Syria.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis said the strikes were a "one-time shot", adding that "clearly the Assad regime did not get the message last year".

He said the US did not co-ordinate with Russia on the strike nor did it pre-notify the Russians.

"We specifically identified these targets to mitigate the risk of Russian forces being involved," Mr Mattis said.

Trump claimed the strikes were in response to the chemical attack on April 7.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the strikes were not about intervening in a civil war nor were they about a regime change.

"We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalized within Syria, on the streets of the UK or anywhere else in our world," Ms May said, referencing the recent nerve gas attack on a Russian double agent in England.

"It is a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties," she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said "red line has been crossed".

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia supported the strikes, which demonstrated a "calibrated, proportionate and targeted response".

The UK's Defense Ministry said four Royal Air Force Tornado jets fired Storm Shadow missiles at a former missile base near the city of Homs.

Trump said the US was not seeking an "indefinite presence" in Syria. "As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home," he said.

"No amount of American blood or treasure can produce lasting peace and security in the Middle East.





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